I was talking with a friend the other day. (It was after a late-night ice hockey game against a team that included a columnist for this magazine, but those are other stories).
We were discussing career alternatives. As I have noted in this space before, keeping inside counsel engaged and motivated can be a challenge, but it is one of the most important deliverables that any manager has.
Gurus and managers face different career challenges. In a connected world, being a guru is becoming a tougher and tougher gig. Anyone with a browser has access to the data, and so judgment and responsiveness ultimately become the differentiators between which guru to follow. In contrast, managers are usually subject to a corporate pyramid; there's only so far they can go before they're being managed themselves. Whether one is predominantly a guru or manager, managing "up" may ultimately be the most important management skill, but that's for another column.
And so, while the roles are not exclusive, my sense is the next step to the last job is to assess which camp you're in. If you are currently tasked with being a manager, you also need to do this assessment with your employees, and share it with them, regardless if it fits into the current template human resources is sending you to do performance appraisals and career development.